technology

Bicyklet Claude test: an electric bike with a very good price/quality ratio

Bicyklet is a brand of bicycles created by the specialized brand Alltricks. The French range is mainly composed of urban models, including a fairly wide range of VAE. Each model is identified by a first name. The Bicyklet family thus includes Camille, Raymond, Claude and even Victoire. The design of the bikes is carried out in France, while their assembly is carried out in Italy.

The Claude, which we are testing here, relies on the same electric assistance system as its big brother, the Camille. It is therefore a Bafang motor located in the hub of the rear wheel which is at work, displaying 35 Nm of torque. Power is provided by a 504 Wh battery, placed in the luggage rack. Perched on 28-inch tires, the Bicyklet Claude can also count on a 7-speed Shimano Tourney transmission as well as a suspended fork and seat post. Too bad, however, that the braking is provided by V-brakes with pads, less efficient than their counterparts with discs.

To place itself around 1000 €, the Bicyklet Claude makes some concessions, but offers most of the equipment expected for basic use in town.

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

Comfort and ergonomics

Like many urban models, the Bicyklet Claude adopts an open aluminum frame, devoid of a top tube. A choice that allows simpler, practical stepping over when you are loaded or dressed in an uncomfortable way. For such an inexpensive bike, the finishes are not at a discount. Admittedly, the Claude is far from the most beautiful frames on the market, but the assembly remains serious.

If it weren’t for its necessarily visible battery under the luggage rack, the electric bike developed by Alltricks could visually pass for a muscular model. The motor, placed in the hub of the rear wheel, remains concealed behind the cassette. Too bad not to have made an extra effort to hide the cables a little more. These cables still pass partly through the frame to reach the battery and the motor.

The “gooseneck” style of Bicyklet’s e-bike promotes an upright and relaxed posture at the handlebars. The latter, precisely, also forces relaxation with its curved hanger. The dynamism is in any case not on the program given the technical sheet of the Claude. Two sizes are offered for this bike: the first is suitable for riders from 1.50 to 1.70 m and the second is designed for riders from 1.67 to 1.85 cm. The stem can be tilted to offer a more or less carried position on the front.

The urban spirit is respected with the 28-inch wheels in 1.5-inch-wide CST tires (700x38c). The latter are rather wheely and will have more difficulty in facing the trails than the very smooth cycle paths. The suspension fork and its 40 mm of travel somehow filter out small pitfalls. On the other hand, the suspension seatpost is a real asset in terms of comfort. A very significant rarity at this price level. The saddle itself is correct, nothing more, and is more suitable for short trips than for longer ones.

On the handlebars, Alltricks made some interesting choices for their entry-level bike. Starting with derailleur shifters from the Altus range, much more practical than those from the Tourney family associated with the derailleur. The handles are, they, not very pleasant in the long run, with an almost sticky touch.

The pair of mudguards do a decent job of protecting the pants from splashing water. The front model would have deserved a small bib for shoe protection. The kickstand is welcome for parking, but its central position blocks the stroke of the pedal, which makes certain manipulations difficult.

Unfortunately, something as crucial as lighting pays the price for the cost hunt. Front and rear, the Bicyklet Claude relies on battery-operated lights. This forces you to think about turning them on and off every time and making sure the batteries still have juice regularly. The risk is above all to end up forgetting them regularly to be less visible to other road users.

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

Conduct

The Bafang motor is located in the rear wheel and is not associated with a torque sensor. The electric assistance is therefore triggered when a turn of the pedals is detected. With only 35 Nm of torque, the Bicyklet Claude does not promise to work wonders uphill or with a heavy cyclist on the back.

Assistance is controlled by a box with 3 buttons. The display is not based on a screen, but on 2 series of LEDs. The first indicates the level of assistance chosen from the 5 levels; the second gives an idea of ​​how much juice is left in the battery. All this is very brief at a time when the screens, even rudimentary, give a little more information. The most disabling and here to rely only on 5 LEDs for the capacity of the battery, without notion of distance traveled or to be traveled.

Without a torque sensor, the pedaling lacks naturalness and we regularly find ourselves pretending to grind to maintain a constant speed. Of the 5 levels of assistance, the last 2 are rather to be avoided in town, their power being too difficult to control for precise maneuvers. Modes 2 and 3 offer sufficient dynamism for urban and flat terrain.

Uphill, the engine quickly reaches its limits and the lack of torque is felt. Marked hills are climbed at a slow pace with a 65 kg cyclist on your back. They will be more difficult for heavier users. A small latency which maintains the assistance one second after having stopped pedaling is also to be taken into account in certain cases.

While they share the same engine, we didn’t find the Claude to match the Camille in terms of driving pleasure. The Claude offers a lower yield and is less easy to carry. With all the weight on the back (battery and motor), the imbalance is felt and the Bicyklet Claude can be a little clumsy and less reassuring in its trajectories. It remains suitable despite everything in an urban setting if you agree to drive peacefully.

The Shimano Tourney derailleur does not provide a perfectly smooth and responsive transmission. Even perfectly adjusted by the Alltricks teams – a service billed at €50, but which is of great interest in our opinion – the Claude lacks dynamism when changing gears. Again, this is felt quite little on the flat, but sanctions a little more the lack of anticipation uphill or after braking.

Braking, precisely, is the area that makes the most concessions. Indeed, the brand has chosen pad brakes (or V-Brake) rather than disc brakes. A choice obviously dictated by the price, but which is not insignificant on an electric bike. With higher weight and above all higher traffic speeds, the pads are put to the test. They will wear out fairly quickly and therefore lose efficiency. It is better to remain very attentive to their condition, especially if you drive a lot. Their action is just correct, because it takes 4 meters to come to a complete stop when you are launched at 25 km/h on the flat.

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